This post is the first in a series detailing Devin Moore’s making of Melodious and the Soulforge, due to be released on January 1, 2010.  Listen to Devin’s work on his website and at Rifflet.com.

About 2 years ago, I set out to make an epic warrior-metal opera multimedia album and music project. Now that the album is nearing completion, I can reflect on my experiences. Among the obstacles that I knew I would face right from the beginning:

Melodious and the Soulforge album art1. Limited financial resources
My lack of finances meant that this album would be extremely labor-intensive. This would be one of the lowest-cost-overhead multimedia projects ever made given its scope and absolute minimum requirements. In some cases, I had to wait for technology to catch up so there would be a free tool available that I could use to solve a particular production problem. In other cases, I had to accept hard truths, including that the final quality of my work was never going to be that of a professionally-recorded album due to the limits of my equipment.

2. Limited time availability
This would not be my full-time job. In fact, I would have many other obligations needing to be met on a regular basis. I would have to optimize the value of whatever little time I would be able to spend on this album in order to make any progress whatsoever. At first, I tried to spend every free moment on the project, but I discovered that the ramp-up time overhead of this approach was wasting what little time I had. Instead, I decided to wait until I had at least certain minimum blocks available, and then I broke up the existing to-do items so that I could finish all of one type in a certain block. This scheduling trick allowed me to achieve significant time savings thanks to an assembly-line effect. For example, I would do lots of drum tracks all in a row, rather than trying to finish each song completely (the ‘finish a song and move on’ approach did work sometimes depending on the amount of available time).

3. Virtually no direct assistance
I have attracted no other people who were interested in directly helping with the project. I have been lucky to have some indirect assistance from website projects such as rifflet.com. Having a way to listen back to my own stuff off of the Internet has yielded lots of opportunities for me to rearrange the works and therefore to come up with a much more cohesive final concept. I had to tear down and re-setup my equipment frequently due to having to use those rooms of my home for family stuff, so even if my equipment couldn’t be setup, at least I could listen to my stuff on rifflet.com and take notes on new ideas.

4. A shockingly negative public response
I have encountered little other than disinterest or doubt at best, to being straight-out told I’m a terrible musician, crazy, stupid, a loser/failure, etc. In order to complete this project, I have to ignore the deafening roar of these ever-increasing and unstoppable insults. My own comprehensive notes (musical composition, story work, drawings, etc) helped me to keep the project on track. Whenever I felt down from people ragging on me about this project, I would look back over the notes and consider that it made sense to me, and that’s all I really needed in order to decide that it was worth my time and effort.

I have come as far as I have on this album not because of a miracle, but as the result of my unwavering constitution in forcing myself to be content with achieving hundreds of seemingly insignificant milestones spaced out over several years’ worth of effort. Each step did make a difference and now they have accumulated into a nearly finished project.

The sound of the album is different than what I originally envisioned, but I ended up with a multimedia/musical product that I feel is unique. I am satisfied that I am about to achieve at least one significant accomplishment while I am still near the top of my game.

I am not trying to make money on this because that is not my goal. My goal was to make this compelling story/vision come to life for me and for anyone else who cared to experience it.

I expect to eventually make a few versions of the album “Melodius and the Soulforge”, with the initial V1.0 release currently targeted for 1/1/2010. Thanks for your support.

Official site for the MATSF project: http://www.devinmoore.com/matsf.html

Image credits:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bruceberrien/ / CC BY 2.0